This Shar­jah bak­ery’s choco­late cake has a se­cret weapon when it comes to its dec­o­ra­tion – dozens of shat­tered meringues make for a dra­matic, but achiev­able ef­fect

Friday - - Sweet Celebration -

Nawal Al Nuaimi started Pa­per Fig (named for a shell she found on hol­i­day) in 2015; since then her Shar­jah café and bak­ery has tripled in size, but her favourite cake – cheese­cake – is still on the menu (we’ve tried it, and it’s de­li­cious!). Nawal started her bak­ing ca­reer mak­ing hun­dreds of mini cheese­cakes a day for friends – a recipe for a busi­ness. For Fri­day, how­ever, she’s made a rich choco­late and meringue layer cake.


Makes 3 6-inch cakes 650g pas­try flour 750g white su­gar 225g co­coa (Pa­per Fig uses Val­rhona) 20g bak­ing pow­der 15g salt 20g bak­ing soda 600g full-fat milk 225g sun­flower oil 5 large eggs 10g cof­fee pow­der 200g boil­ing wa­ter Pre­heat the oven to 175˚C. Us­ing parch­ment pa­per, line a 60cmx40cmx5cm tray. (Al­ter­na­tively, you can bake the cake in three 15cm round cake tins, lined, but check for done­ness ear­lier). Sift all the dry in­gre­di­ents, ex­cept for the cof­fee pow­der, to­gether. Com­bine all the liq­uid in­gre­di­ents, ex­cept the boil­ing wa­ter. Com­bine the dry and liq­uid mixes. Dis­solve the cof­fee pow­der in the boil­ing wa­ter and add to the mix­ture. Bake for 30-45 min­utes, un­til a cake tester comes out clean. Cool.


1,000g whip­ping cream 300g 40 per cent milk choco­late, such as Val­rhona Ji­vara Melt the choco­late then mix it with the whip­ping cream. Chill for 24 hours, then whip the mix­ture un­til airy.


4 egg whites 100g caster su­gar 70g ic­ing su­gar 30g co­coa pow­der Pre­heat the oven to 150˚C. Line a bak­ing sheet with parch­ment pa­per. Whisk the egg whites with an elec­tric whisk un­til soft, satin-like peaks form. Add the caster su­gar, spoon by spoon and keep whisk­ing un­til all of the su­gar is added and the mix­ture is stiff and shiny. Next add the ic­ing su­gar and co­coa bit by bit. Once you have a stiff, shiny meringue mix­ture, gen­tly trans­fer it to a pip­ing bag with a noz­zle round tip (#10 or 1cm di­am­e­ter), and pipe long strips of meringue on the pre­pared parch­ment pa­per. Place the meringue strips in the oven and bake for ap­prox­i­mately 1 hour. If pos­si­ble, once cooked, turn the oven off and leave the meringue in­side with the door open for 30 min­utes or so be­fore re­mov­ing. This helps them to not collapse. Set aside on a cool­ing rack.


Cut out three 15cm cakes (or use the three sep­a­rate cakes). Put a lit­tle mousse in the centre of your plate to hold the cake in place. Add a layer of mousse on the first layer of cake and top it with an­other layer, followed by mousse and the last layer. Coat the en­tire cake with mousse – be gen­er­ous! Break the choco­late meringue into pieces and gar­nish the cake with them. Dec­o­rate with a sprin­kle of gold dust and gold leaf.

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